In the December issue of ELLE we break down the truth about alcohol, the stats, the consequences and the effects that one too many vodka sodas can have on our health and our mind. Social drinking is one of Britain’s favourite pastimes, with one in four adults being labelled ‘Binge Drinkers’.
There’s no denying it, the only fool proof way to avoid a hangover is to not drink too much. Alas, it’s a fine line between a glass or two of red wine with dinner and ordering cheesy chips at 3am.
Lecture aside, there are some tried and tested theories and facts to lessen the symptoms of your hangover - something that we’ll be needing as the festive season draws closer.
The Bytox Prevention Patch has made its way over to the UK after its launch in New York late last year. It was created by plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Leonard Grossman who claims it replenishes the vitamins and acids lost when drinking alcohol meaning a faster recovery time.
You use them like a nicotine patch, on a hairless part of your body, at least 45 minutes before you starting drinking and leave it on until the next day. It’s not a cure but when it comes to hangovers prevention is always worth a go.
A pack of five patches £12.99 from Firebox.com
Milk thistle is an old classic when it comes to hangover cures. This supplement protects the liver and helps to produce new cells in place of old. It’s has great detoxifying properties which is why people started taking it as a hangover prevention.
Take one capsule two to three times daily, preferably with meals or open the capsule in to a cup of hot water and drink. Do this a few days before your night out and the day after.
Top tip from nutritionist, Sana Khan is to download this clever app straight from your iPhone or iPad for free - NHS Drinks Tracker.
It helps you to calculate the units in your drinks - a few extra units can easily add up to a miserable day after.
You can also track your drinking over the weeks and months to see how it builds up (daunting, we know) and finally it gives you personalised feedback on your drinking habits. We warn you, you may not like what it has to say!
‘Choose alcoholic drinks with lower congeners such as white wine and clear spirits such as vodka or gin’ suggests Nutritional therapist Victoria Makepeace-Warne.
While congeners are responsible for the taste and aroma of alcohol they also increase dehydration and sickness. Congeners in alcohol contain small amounts of all sorts of off-putting ingredients like acetone (strong nail varnish remover), acetaldehyde, and aldehydes. The higher the percentage of all these ingredients basically means the worse your hangover so opt for clear over darker spirits.
This might seem obvious but it really is vital. Dehydration and lack of sleep are the two main causes of a bad hangover. Alcohol is essentially a poison which your body needs to expel so you need to dilute your system with plenty of fluids.
Nutritional therapist, Victoria Makepeace-Warne suggests to drink Coconut water both before and after a night out, try Vita Coco £2.15 which contains high levels of the electrolyte potassium, the same amount as in two bananas, only 45 calories and packed full of Vitamin C to prevent your hangover from getting worse.The electrolytes help our bodies to dissolve salts, making it easier for minerals from food and drink to find the appropriate place in the body to work.
The Big Breakfast
The thing on most of our minds when we wake up blurry-eyed and slightly fuzzy-headed is carbs, and lots of them.
Alice Mackintosh, a nutrition consultant at The Food Doctor Clinic, suggests to eat a rounded breakfast such as wholemeal toast and eggs.
The eggs are a great source of the amino acid cysteine that helps to reduce levels of nasty hangover toxins such as acetaldehyde which is produced when your body processes alcohol. Plus, the protein from the eggs keeps your blood sugar levels balanced reducing your chances of getting a headache. By opting for complex carbs (like wholegrain) the body can break them down easier and your energy levels won’t dip throughout the day.
Can’t stomach a full English? Try nibbling at Marmite on toast. When we drink we break down the nutrients in our liver which process alcohol so we need to replace these through food. The liver craves vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid, to restore these lost nutrients and what little black and yellow pot is topped to the brim with vitamin B’s? Marmite
If you hate Marmite nutritional therapist,Victoria Makepeace-Warne recommends having a smoothie made with colourful berries, natural yoghurt with a spoonful of almond nut butter as a quick fix nutrient booster to replenish lost nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C and zinc to help you concentrate – something we all could do with a boost of when faced with the depressing task of sitting at a computer all day.
Alcohol is an ‘anti-nutrient’ which reduces the level of vitamins and minerals in our bodies. After a heavy night drinking our bodies need to be alkalized to counterbalance the acidity of alcohol. Choose green juices such as spinach, kale and green apples, which are all full of toxin blasting vitamin C and B. They also provide a great source of enzymes, which boost your immune system, in an easily digestible form.
Don’t have a juicer? This powder contains green grasses, sea vegetables and algae probiotics promote the growth of friendly bacteria to help with digestion. Take 1 scoop in water, juice or smoothie first thing in the morning to flush out toxins.